Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Ideal Cases App review

Thanks to the great guys (and girls!) at Idealcases.com we had the chance to review the new app where you can design your own phone, tablet or eReader case.

There are different platforms for the app - I used the Apple app.  Simply download the free app from the Apple Store and start designing!  With the fun to use design apps, the only limitation is how crazy you want to go!  You can create your 'Ideal' phone, tablet or eReader case with a family photo, logo, favourite illustration or even song lyric.

The app is really easy to use; simply select your device, then device model and finally, case style.  There are a good selection of styles available - including  matt, gloss, black, white & wallet case, there's something for everyone's taste.

Then, choose your photo from either your Facebook account, Instagram account, flickr account, images stored on your phone or you can even take a new pic there and then!  And you can make it your own by tweaking and editing your photo to fit just right!  You can flip and/or rotate the image at the touch of an icon and then share your creativity with your friends via various social media channels.

This is the photo that I've put on my phone case - a rare day out during the summer months for us all!  An impromptu 'let's go out for the day because it's sunny' event... the unplanned ones are always the best!

Registered customers can also earn points on their purchases - everyone loves a loyalty scheme!  And as a special 'thank you' to my followers, you can get an extra 10% of any case up until the end of June with the code 'katiecupcake10'... but be quick, you've only got 5 days to use the code.  So have a think for any upcoming birthday or events where you'd like to surprise someone with a personalised phone, tablet or eReader case!  With a free postage option and prices from just £12.49, what more can you ask for!

I would highly recommend the app as a simple and easy to use design app - almost too easy as you may think that only the technically-minded of us could use something as 'complicated' as a design app!  So, blow away the design cobwebs and treat yourself or someone else!

Why not pop over to their Facebook page here and have a look at the great designs and ideas for inspiration!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Saying 'Thank You' & 'Well Done'!

So often, we forget to thank people for doing things - big & small!  But more often, we don't give each other a pat on the back when credit's due.  Now I may be 32, married with 2 kids but I still beam a little inside when someone congratulates me on a job well done!  After a quite tough few weeks with a new job, keeping my existing job as a self-employed B&B owner, still being a mum and being a wife(!) it was nice to receive a 'thank you and well done' email from a client regarding a Facebook campaign that I was heavily involved with over the weekend :)

Image via stevendepolo on flickr http://bit.ly/1aHOBtS
So here's a 'thank you and well done' to you all too!  Whatever you have achieved over the weekend, well done!  Even if it's just getting through the weekend without yelling at one of your *lovely* kids.... you made it! 

And don't forget to give someone else a pat on the back too... we all need a little boost sometimes!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

'Welcome Back!' & win some wine! Naked Wines Competition

As the weather has brightened up, I'm back blogging again and everyone's smiling, here's another reason to smile.  Up for grabs we have a £60 voucher to be used at Naked Wines.

Naked Wines, you might ask... well, Naked Wines is an online wine retailer that invests in independant winemakers, to get delicious wines at preferential prices.

With the winning voucher, for example, you can get this Summer Sizzlers Mixed Case of wine for just £42.38 - that's 12 bottles of wine great for summer entertaining for just over £3.50 a bottle!

Just enter the Rafflecopter competition below... and good luck!

The terms and conditions set by Naked Wines are detailed below:
  • Voucher must be claimed before 30/06/2013.
  •  For UK residents aged 18 or over.
  • Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
  • Your voucher is valid against your first order of £99.99 or more.
  • Delivery (Next Day only £4.99 as standard) and any additional spend on wine, will be charged to your credit or debit card.
  • Full terms and conditions are available on our website at www.nakedwines.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 21 June 2013

Richmond Mini Meatballs #Hungry2Happy Challenge

This week, we had the challenge of creating a great recipe using Richmond Mini Meatballs!  The #Hungry2Happy Challenge is all about easy-to-prepare, versatile meals for kids that turn cheeky monkeys into satisfied angels in minutes. They are bite-sized pork meatballs that are quick and easy to prepare as part of a hassle-free meal in just 10 minutes.

After a treasure hunt in trying to find them in stock in a store (resulting in an 40 mile round trip!), here we go.....!

Mini Meatball Kebabs
Serves 4, prep time 5 mins, cook time 12-14 mins, eat time 5 mins!

16 Richmond Mini Meatballs
12 cherry tomatoes
4 wooden kebab sticks (soaked in water)
Approx 150g dried pasta shapes
Lettuce, cucumber & tomato for a side salad
  1. Cook the Mini Meatballs according to the packet instructions.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 10-12 mins (or according to the pack instructions, if different).
  3. When the meatballs are cooked, cool slightly and then thread the meatballs and cherry tomatoes alternately onto the pre-soaked wooden skewers.
  4. Place the kebabs under a preheated grill for 5-6 mins turning after a couple of minutes to warm the cherry tomatoes through.
  5. Whilst the kebabs are cooking, prepare the salad.
  6. Serve altogether on a sharing platter - place the kebabs on top of the pasta with the salad on the side.  Enjoy!!!
We all really enjoyed this quick and easy recipe for an after school tea.  You could spice them up a little if desired with the addition of a sprinkling of chilli powder and paprika over the meatballs.  Also, you can change the veg on the kebabs - red, yellow and green peppers would work great along with chunks of red onion!  Another alternative would be to serve with rice or noodles rather than pasta - but my kids LOVE pasta so, in our house, it's always a winner!

You can find Richmond Mini Meatballs in the freezer aisle in most major supermarkets.
This post is an entry for BritMums’ Hungry to Happy Challenge sponsored by Richmond Mini Meatballs.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Childs Farm - Natural Toiletries for Kids!

Thansk to the lovely peeps at Luvit!, we had the opportunity this week to try out some great bath and hair products for children.  Childs Farm is a lovely and unique company who produce and sell products which are organic, paraben-free, sulphate-free and mineral-free!

My daughter (8... nearly 9!) has very sensitive and dry skin (especially her scalp) and we usually stick to a shampoo of the "no more tears" variety; without mentioning any names, Mr. Johnson does very well when you look in my bathroom cupboard!  BUT, my daughter insists that it's "baby shampoo" - which she is actually correct about!  And, although she has quite fine hair, her hair is getting thicker as she's getting older, so this shampoo is becoming more and more unsuitable for her lucious locks!  So, we tried Childs Farm as an alternative and..... great success!
Firstly, the scents are fantastic!  The strawberry and mint shampoo & conditioner actually smells of strawberries and mint!  Real ones....not the fake sickly smell that you can get with some bath products.  And with the tangerine bubble bath, you can actually sense the citrus zing that it contains!

Secondly, the products in the "Cleaning Kit" come in 100ml bottles, so your first instinct there is that they will only last a couple of baths.  Well, that's where you're wrong!  We put a decent "squirt" of the tangerine bubble bath in our (rather large) bath and there were bubbles galore!  The "squirt" was about a sixth of the bottle, maybe less, so gone are the days when you use half a bottle of bubbly to achieve a feeble attempt at a bubble bath!  The shampoo and conditioner are the same - just a 10p sized squirt of each was enough to wash and conditioner my daughters (long) hair!

Thirdly, Childs Farms should make a big deal about the fact that the conditioner left my daughters hair (almost) tangle-free!  No matter how many times I tell her not to "scrub" her hair in the bath...it still happens!  But after using the Childs Farm conditioner, her hair just simply combed straight down without a knot in sight!  Smiles all round from us!

And lastly, (the sciency bit), as I previously mentioned, my daughter has really dry skin.  When we have tried different products in the past, the effect is almost instant, as she can fell the tightness and itchy skin straight after using something different.  And we can honestly say, these products did not have any adverse effects on her skin!  So the organic nature of the products and lack of unecessary chemical interference shows that there are great-smelling, kind to nature and kind to us products out there!  Childs Farm were unknown to me before working on this campaign but I hope they become known to every household out there!  And, you don't have to have sensitive skin to use these products - they're just extra-friendly if you do!

You can buy Childs Farm products online here or instore at various retailers including Barmouth's very own Luvit!  The company and their products have had some great press coverage; from The Guardian & The Telegraph to Tatler magazine, there's lots of positivity out there!

Definitely a thumbs-up from us!
Also, if you have an explore around their website, there's some free colouring sheets for your children to colour (not in the bath though!) and lots more information about their products and the charity work they are involved with - so good news all round!

So, why not pop over to their Facebook page, say "hello" and look out for these great products next time you are stocking up the bathroom cupboard!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Barbequed lamb chops - Recommended Recipe!

Barbequed Lamb Chops

Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits into a lamb chop, thinly slice half a clove of garlic and poke into the slits.  Spread 1 tsp mint jelly or mint sauce over the chop, repeat with enough lamb chops for everyone.  Cover and chill until you are ready to cook.  Throw a few rosemary stalks, if you have them, onto the barbeque and sit the chops on top of the herbs.  Cook the lamb to your liking – the chops should only take a few minutes on each side.  Serve with extra mint jelly or mint sauce and a fresh salad.

Per serving: 210 kcal, 13.5g fat, 6.2g saturated fat, 7.3g sugars, 0.1g salt.

Source: The Co-operative instore magazine.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Summer berry fruity jelly - Recommended Recipe!

Summer Berry Fruity Jelly - serves 8, takes 30 mins plus chilling

500g strawberries, hulled and quartered
300g raspberries
200g blueberries
175g caster sugar
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
9 sheets fine leaf gelatine
75ml elderflower cordial


  1. Put 200g strawberries, 125g raspberries and 80g blueberries in a medium pan with the sugar, lemon juice and 700ml cold water.  Warm gently until the sugar dissolves and liquid starts to simmer. 
  2. Cover and simmer until the fruit is very soft (5 mins). 
  3. Meanwhile, put the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water.  Leave to stand for 5-10 mins until soft. 
  4. Strain the hot juice through a sieve into a bowl – don’t press the fruit through the sieve as this will turn the jelly cloudy. 
  5. Squeeze any excess water from the gelatine and add the leaves to the hot juice.  Stir until completely dissolved then mix in the cordial.  Leave to cool at room temperature. 
  6. Pour 1/3 of the jelly mixture into a 2 litre jelly mould.  Scatter with 1/3 of the remaining fruit.  Cover and place in the fridge for 30 mins or until lightly set. 
  7. Pour over half of the rest of the jelly mix; scatter with half of the remaining fruit.  Chill for 30-60 mins until lightly set.  Add remaining jelly and fruit, cover and chill overnight or for at least 6 hours.  Serve with ice cream or single cream.

Per serving: 150kcal, trace fat, trace saturated fat, 35g sugar, trace salt.

Source: Tesco instore magazine.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Sizzling Jamaican beef skewers - Recommended Recipe!

Sizzling Jamaican Beef Skewers - serves 8.  Makes 24 sticks.  Takes 25 mins.

1 kg beef mince
8 salad onions, trimmed and finely chopped
3 tbsp jerk seasoning
Olive oil spray, for cooking
Mixed salad, to serve


  1. Place 24 wooden bamboo skewers into a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for at least 30 mins, or overnight if possible – this will stop the wood from burning on the BBQ. 
  2. Place the beef, salad onions,  jerk seasoning and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.  Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until really well combined. 
  3. Shape a fairly large tablespoon of mixture around the end of one of the prepared sticks to make an oval shape about 4-6 cm long – dipping your hands in cold water first will make shaping the meat easier.  Set aside and continue with the remaining mixture to make 24 beef skewers. 
  4. Spray the meat with olive oil to give it a light coating, then cook on the BBQ for 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until well browned and cooked all the way through.  Serve with the mixed salad.

Per skewer: 130kcal, 1g fat, 2.8g saturated fat, 2g sugar, 1.3g salt.

Source: Tesco instore magazine.